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Author:Humpage, Owen F. 

Working Paper
Bretton Woods, swap lines, and the Federal Reserve’s return to intervention

This paper describes the United States? first line of defense against shortcomings in the Bretton Woods system, which threatened the system?s continuation as early as 1960. The exposition describes the Federal Reserve?s use of swap lines both to provide cover for central banks? unwanted dollar exposures, thereby forestalling claims on the U.S. gold stock, and to supply dollar liquidity to countries facing temporary balance-of-payments deficits, thereby bolstering confidence in their parities. As suggested by the expansion and growing use of the swap lines, the operations failed to distinguish ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1232

Journal Article
Do deficits cause inflation?

An examination of possible ways in which large, persistent federal budget deficits could cause inflation through action on money-stock growth, velocity, and real gross national product (GNP).
Economic Commentary , Issue Nov

Journal Article
A new role for the Exchange Stabilization Fund

Recently, the U.S. Treasury announced a new, temporary insurance program for U.S. money-market mutual funds. To guarantee payment of these funds? liabilities, the Treasury will use the assets of its Exchange Stabilization Fund. Created in the 1930s to stabilize the exchange value of the dollar, it has been tapped on occasion to supply loans to foreign countries in financial distress. This latest use of ESF assets is unlike anything the Fund has been used for before.
Economic Commentary , Issue Aug

Working Paper
Government intervention in the foreign exchange market

This article offers a survey of the literature on foreign exchange intervention, including sections on the theoretical channels through which intervention might affect exchange rates and a summary of the empirical findings. The survey emphasizes that intervention is intended to provide monetary authorities with an means of influencing their exchange rates independent from monetary policy, and tends to evaluate theoretical channels and empirical results from this perspective.
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 0315

Journal Article
Do commodity prices signal inflation?

Do the rising commodity prices we have seen in recent years reflect basic supply-and-demand developments in various commodity markets, or are they the fi rst signs of inflation? In practice, it?s not always easy to tell the difference - for the public or policymakers - but fundamentally different they are. Central banks can do nothing about relative commodity price pressures, since central banks do not produce commodities. Likewise, commodity-price shocks do not impair the ability of central banks to control inflation in principle, but they can greatly complicate the task.
Economic Commentary , Issue May

Journal Article
Should the United States hold foreign currency reserves?

An argument that for countries with well-developed money markets and flexible exchange rates, there is little to be gained from holding a vast foreign exchange portfolio and intervening in the world's currency markets.
Economic Commentary , Issue Aug

Journal Article
The Fed’s Yield-Curve-Control Policy

The recent global financial crisis left governments in many advanced countries with very heavy debt burdens and their central banks with huge portfolios of government bonds. With many central banks today still facing policy rates that are uncomfortably close to zero, some may follow the example of Japan, which recently added a new long-term interest rate target to its short-term target to give itself ?yield-curve control.? The Federal Reserve?s foray into similar territory around the Second World War suggests that combining yield-curve control with quantitative easing when government ...
Economic Commentary , Issue November

Journal Article
The limitations of foreign-exchange intervention: lessons from Switzerland

Since the mid-1990s, monetary authorities in most large developed countries have backed away from foreign-exchange intervention?buying and selling foreign currencies to influence exchange rates. Switzerland?s recent experience goes a long way to illustrate why: Foreign-exchange intervention did not afford the Swiss National Bank with a means of systematically affecting the franc independent of Swiss monetary policy, and it left the Bank exposed to foreign-exchange losses. To affect exchange rates, central banks must change their monetary policies.>
Economic Commentary , Issue Oct

Journal Article
Money, manufacturing, and the strong dollar

U.S. firms are facing tough international competition, and the U.S. trade deficit has grown to a level that some find alarming. Why doesn't the United States respond by easing monetary policy to lower the dollar's exchange rate and reduce the price of U.S. goods in foreign markets? This Commentary argues that monetary policy is incapable of improving the competitive position of U.S. manufacturing through exchange rate manipulation. The temporary gains monetary easing might achieve through a nominal dollar depreciation would be offset by higher inflation and decreased foreign investment.
Economic Commentary , Issue Jul

Journal Article
Safe-harbor leasing: separating the wheat from the chaff

An examination of the safe-harbor provisions of the 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act, with a discussion of the mechanics of the leasing, the revenue impact, and an analysis of criticism that led to the demise of the program.
Economic Commentary , Issue Oct

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